Healthcare professionals work hard to make a living, and it’s important that the money they earn works just as hard for them. While there are many investment advisors available to help high-net worth individuals invest their funds, The Equity Group, located in Doral, Florida is different from the rest.

“We started the business about two years ago when we saw an opportunity to introduce new concepts and products into the market,” explained Independent Financial Advisor Raul Benitez of the company owned by Jim Coughlin. “We wanted to show physicians and small business owners a way to establish tax-free retirement income while minimizing risk.

“Risk/reward is a very important concept when a client is deciding upon what investments to make,” he added. “Some people think that they will not accomplish their goals without taking long-term risk, but it doesn’t have to be extreme. It’s more important to get a return over time.”

As an independent firm, The Equity Group can provide clients with a number of options different than those of their competitors. “While many other companies only offer investors their own products and services, we bring whatever products will have the most effective results to the table,” said Benitez.

One such product is The Private Retirement Plan, which differs from traditional retirement plans—such as 401Ks, IRAs and SEPs—in a number of ways. While traditional plans are fee-based and controlled by the IRS, the Private Retirement Plan has no fees and is not under IRS control. Retirement income in a traditional plan is taxed and clients can make limited contributions; under the Private Retirement Plan, retirement income is tax-free and a client can make unlimited contributions. Clients also do not pay a 10 percent penalty when taking money out before the age of 59-1/2 as with a traditional plan, and heirs receive double or triple the value of the plan upon the death of the retiree.

In addition to The Private Retirement Plan, The Equity Group specializes in providing other financial options to their clients, including reverse mortgages and stretch IRAs, as well as provides advice on Medicaid planning and reducing taxes on social security, earned interest and capital gains.

In order to determine what options are best for their clients, financial advisors at The Equity Group keep the lines of communication open through one-on-one meetings and quarterly phone conversations. Clients are also required to attend a mandatory annual meeting during which their advisors gain an even greater understanding of their needs.

“Most of our clients hear of us through word-of-mouth,” said Benitez, who added that The Equity Groups takes on somewhere between 30 and 50 high-net worth clients per year. “Referrals are the No. 1 way in which we get customers.”

Education is a very important part of the investor/advisor relationship, according to Benitez. “For example, most stock market investments tout average returns,” he explained. ” This can be quite deceptive to the average investor who invests a certain amount of money a year.

“If a client invests $5,000 a year into a Roth IRA for 10 years, he or she will have an average return of 5.52 percent, versus an actual return of 2.5 percent,” he continued. “Stock and mutual fund companies like to confuse clients with average returns, but most investors invest periodically and average return is not actual return. Consistent positive rates of return are more preferable to systematic investors, than the up and downs in the markets.” (See chart)

Year Investment Return Balance
1999 5000 26.67% $6,334
2000 5000 19.53% $13,547
2001 5000 -10.14% $16,666
2002 5000 -13.04% $18,841
2003 5000 -23.37% $18,269
2004 5000 26.38% $29,408
2005 5000 8.99% $37,501
2006 5000 3.00% $43,776
2007 5000 13.62% $55,419
2008 5000 3.53% $62,552

Based on S & P 500 index returns for the past 15 years.
Average Return = 5.52 percent
Actual Return = 2.5 percent